The Organic Heart Cookbook and an Interview

Our health is everything, and while we can all do the best by eating right and exercising, sometimes the unexplainable happens and people get sick. Breeana Pooler, creator of the popular Instagram account @the_organic_heart and the food blog, www.the-organic-heart.com, experienced this in her life, when at only 26 her husband, Jason, was unexpectedly diagnosed with severe heart failure. Following his diagnosis, she set out to regain his health by throwing out everything in the refrigerator and dedicating 100 percent of her time, energy, and passion to creating healthy, nutrient-filled recipes. Now, he no longer needs a needs a heart transplant and is healthier than he has been in his entire life, and his heart is within normal range—all due to a healthy diet.

She recently launched The Organic Heart Cookbook, a book that shares how she helped to cure her husband through healthy eating, plus 75 clean and delicious gluten- and dairy-free recipes that helped her do so. This includes delicious recipes like Sweet Potato Breakfast Sliders, BBQ Chicken Zucchini Noodle Bowl, Mango-Mint Salsa with Cucumber Chips, Shrimp and Kale Fettuccine in a Cauliflower Cream Sauce and tons more! To learn more about her journey and this book, we had the chance to chat with Breena who shared more about their path to healthy eating. Read on to learn more:

Breeana Pooler Interview on The Organic Heart

The Organic Heart Cookbook and an Interview

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about the Organic Heart.

Breeana Pooler: The Organic Heart started back in 2014 when my husband, Jason, was diagnosed with heart failure caused by a rare virus. We met with a naturopathic doctor who recommended we go on an anti-inflammatory diet to bring down the inflammation in his heart and this consisted of gluten and dairy-free, clean, un-processed organic foods. I created an Instagram account to share the recipes I came up with for Jason and share our journey of Jason’s recovery and I quickly gained a following on my Instagram account. Flash forward a few years later I then decided to come out with a cookbook filled with all the healthy and healing recipes that saved my husbands life. Jason’s heart fully recovered and I am now determined to share our story and my recipes with the world.

Wellness Patterns: Can you really regain your health by changing your diet?

Breeana Pooler: Yes, you can 100%. I saw my husband go from nearly dying and us being told he needed a heart transplant to just a few months later (after going on this all organic, anti-inflammatory way of eating) feeling so much better and no longer needing a heart transplant. Food truly turned his health around and saved his life and I got to see the amazing results first hand.

organic heart cookbook interview

Wellness Patterns: What did you learn about health and food after your husband’s heart issues?

Breeana Pooler: My view of health and food completely changed. Before his diagnosis, I never thought of how chemicals in our food actually effect or bodies or how if our system is constantly inflamed from the toxic foods we consume it’s more susceptible to disease and sickness. Jason’s diagnosis of heart failure caused us to take a magnifying glass on our food choices and really put thought into what we put in our body and in turn how that food can nourish and actually heal you.

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your favorite heart-healthy recipes?

Breeana Pooler: My favorite go-to weekly recipes are my turkey Asian lettuce wraps, Italian meatballs with spaghetti squash, Collard green wrapped fajita burritos, apple-cinnamon oatmeal with almond-coconut drizzle, tropical green smoothie and homemade chicken broth for different soups. And all of these recipes can of course be found in my cookbook!

Wellness Patterns: Tell us more about the community you grew on Instagram?

Breeana Pooler: My followers on Instagram have been such a support system through out the years. At times when I felt like giving up they always lifted my spirits and inspired me to keep going and fulfill my dreams of having a cookbook. I’ve had followers all the way from South Africa to Australia to Mexico tell me how our story and my recipes have changed their life and this has meant so much to me. I feel such a connection with my Instagram community and I’m so grateful for each one of my amazing followers.

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Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

Quinoa has exploded on the health scene for some time now. I love it as an alternative to rice where I create my own quinoa bowl, complete with veggies, beans and some avocados, for a satisying and quick dinner option. But this isn’t always the easiest thing to make when I’m out and about, so you could say that I was pretty psyched when I learned about the new Quinoa Meals from Cucina & Amore: Kitchen & Love.

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

A family-owned company,Cucina & Amore: Kitchen & Love offers Italian meals where they quickly expanded to offer new products like their innovative Quinoa Meals. The kicker with this product is that it’s a ready-to-eat healthy meal option that comes complete with a cup of fully cooked Quinoa, a sauce to mix in, and a spork for extra convenience. There’s nothing to prep or cook and it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated that can be enjoyed cold or hot. Amazing, right?!

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

And as if that’s not enough: there are also tons of varieties to enjoy such as basil pesto (my fave!), mango jalapeño, spicy jalapeño and roasted peppers, and artichoke roasted piquillo that’s a crowd pleaser for kids and adults.

Being a quick and easy product, all you have to do is unwrap the packaging, mix in the sauce (with all of it or a little bit), mix, and enjoy! It really doesn’t get any easier than that! I also love that it’s gluten-free, GMO-free, preservative free, and vegan (except pesto flavor). They are also awesome for travel where you can bring them on planes, road trips, and my personal favorite: an easy lunchtime option that’s compact, mess-free and healthy.

Check out Quinoa Meals at your local grocer; it’s such a great and very easy way to eat healthy when you’re on the go!

Quinoa Meals are available at Wegman’s, Shop Rite, Fairway Market, Stop & Shop, and many more. Our Quinoa Meals are available nationwide at Cost Plus World Market, Super Target, The Fresh Market, select Whole Foods Market regions, and select Costco regions. They are also available online at Thrive Market, Naturebox, Vitacost, and Amazon. Retail price is $3.99-$4.19 depending on the store and possible sale promotions.

For more information, please visit: http://www.cucinaandamore.com/quinoa.html

We were provided with samples for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

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Dr. Smood: Healthy Boutique Cafe Popping Up in NYC

Dr. Smood: Healthy Boutique Cafe

dr. smood coffee

With the focus on health and well-bring becoming increasingly mainstream, the options to purchase organic food and drinks have far surpassed the options solely found in your local health food store. Restaurants and even cafes are ‘getting it,’ offering health-conscious consumers tons of nutrient-rich options to feed their mind, body and souls. During a recent press preview, I had the opportunity to check out such a cafe when I attended the opening of the Lexington Avenue location of Dr. Smood, an organic boutique café that features food and drink items to benefit your mood.  With four locations currently open in New York (a fifth is coming in the fall), the cafés focus on offering nutrient-rich super foods and beverages to the health-conscious consumer. This includes convenient grab-and-go options, a full coffee and juice bar, organic food options, and a “Smood Market” filled with dry goods and supplements.

dr. smood kale salad

dr. smood supplements

Awesome, right?!

This includes backing by scientists, nutritionists and doctors who spent three years developing the nutrient-rich foods to enhance performance of the body, mind and soul. Each product is color-coded and tailored to boost one of six categories: Immunity, Energy, Health, Beauty, Detox and Power. All of the food and drinks are USDA-certified organic, kosher and are made without GMOs, preservatives, dairy, chemicals, HPP, pesticides or refined sugar.

dr. smood values

dr. smood drink

Menu items include organic coffees and teas, green juices, cold pressed juices that are targeted by your mood, organic pastries, power sandwiches made from Performance Bread—which helps to stabilize blood sugar—and salads loaded with bio-available protein and organic super foods. Another unique aspect of Dr. Smood’s is that nutritionists and Smood Operators are available on-site to help customers choose products that are tailored to their needs and that will boost their health. A latte with health benefits? Now, that’s something we can totally get behind.

Dr. Smood locations in New York include 40th and Madison, NoMad, SoHo, 46th and Lexington and the Lower East Side. First launched in Miami, where there are currently five locations, Dr. Smood will continue to open new locations in 2017 and beyond with international expansion plans underway.

For more information, please visit: http://drsmood.com/

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Healthy Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

I’m really trying to be better about having breakfast. Dubbed forever as ‘the most important meal of the day,’ I notice that I get super cranky or my stomach has a life of its own if I don’t eat something in the AM. With three kids, I try to make sensible options (for both of us) by making a weekly homemade smoothie with spinach, berries, bananas, avocado, and coconut water that gives them some veggies at the start of their day. For myself, I’ve been upgrading the smoothie a bit by creating something more substantial in the form of my own smoothie bowl. In addition to the smoothie, I’ll add in some yogurt, OatBox granola and chia seeds for the perfect combo of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Check out one of my go-to recipes, featuring Oatbox, a new monthly breakfast subscription company that delivers monthly-curated boxes of natural, healthy and delicious granola mixes and Carrington Farms Chia Seeds, one of the highest plant-based sources of protein, fiber and Omega 3s.

Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

Ingredients:

1/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup homemade smoothie (combo of coconut water, avocado, frozen berries, banana and spinach)
1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp Carrington Farms Chia Seeds
1 cup of Oatbox 

healthy Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

Directions:

Place frozen berries, frozen spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1 banana and around two cups of coconut water into a blender. Blend until you reach your desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and layer up your ingredients, which includes fresh berries, yogurt, nuts, granola and chia seeds. So easy and so good!

Enjoy!

We were provided with some samples for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

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Healthy, Gluten-Free Pancakes to Start the Day

While I love breakfast, it’s not always the healthiest option, or if there are healthy alternatives, they tend to take time to prepare. I just discovered an awesome way to meld both of those needs after sampling some delicious pancakes from Simple Mills Pancake & Waffle Almond Flour Mix. A gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly, and non-GMO blend, the Simple Mills pancake and waffle line was so easy to create where I simply needed oil, milk (or water), eggs and the mix. After whipping it all together, the pancakes cooked within minutes and were ready to serve my hungry family. After plating them with some fruit and maple syrup, my family dug in and loved the nutty flavor or this reinvented morning meal that also happens to be low in sugar and made with seven simple whole food ingredients!

kids cooking  Simple Mills Pancake & Waffle Almond Flour Mix

simple mills gluten-free pancakes

simple mills gluten-free pancake box

Founded by Kaitlin Smith, who started by creating the mixes in her home, Simply Mills wants to change the way America bakes to help people live healthier lives. This includes a providing a range of wholesome and convenient products that aren’t processed or contain grain, soy, artificial flavors or fillers!

Healthy, Gluten-Free Pancakes to Start the Day

And there’s even more reason to celebrate eating healthy this summer with August 24 being National Waffle Day where you can whip up a batch of Simply Mills waffles to commemorate this 148 year ‘holiday.’ Additionally, you can combine their gluten-free Pancake & Waffle almond flour mix to create a variety of delicious recipes including: Chicken ‘n’ Waffles, Pumpkin Spice Waffles, Savory Veggie Waffles with Herbed Kefir Cheese and more.

For more information on Simple Mills and their product line, please visit: https://www.simplemills.com/

We were provided with a sample for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

 

 

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Upgrade Your Breakfast Options with Teff Porridge

While We love breakfast, it is often connected with foods that are typically carb and sugar heavy. While low-suagr granola and oatmeal are go-to staples on most days, we have to admit: we get bored of those options, too! Enter a new way to mix up your breakfast options with a hearty and super healthy bowl of Teff porridge. Now, we never heard of Teff prior to trying it out, so we were pretty excited to try out this ancient whole grain from Pereg Natural Foods, a producer of premium, all natural spices and spice blends, gluten free pastas, couscous, rice, gluten-free cereals, ancient grains, quinoa products, and much more. This also includes products that are kosher certified dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives.

Upgrade Your Breakfast Options Teff Porridge

Available in brown or ivory varieties as well as mixed with nuts and berries or with chocolate, we tried out the ivory line that according to Pereg “can be toasted and used to add a little crunch to salads to muffins; boiled teff can be prepared with milk or water for a sweet porridge or spiced up for a side dish; raw teff can be ground into flour and baked into injera bread, a traditional Ethiopian dish.” We decided to boil it with some milk and cinnamon that we topped with berries and some pumpkin seeds. Ready in around 15 minutes, we were so into its nutty flavor that also gluten-free, rich with protein, iron, calcium and amino acids. Ready to upgrade your boring breakfast routine? Check out our easy teff morning porridge for a delicious new way to enjoy breakfast without the sugar!

Easy Teff Breakfast Porridge

Teff porridge recipe: Healthy gluten-free breakfast option

Ingredients:

Teff
Cinnamon
Milk or water
Mixed berries
Topped with nuts-we used pumpkin seeds
Maple syrup, if desired

Easy Teff Breakfast Porridge

Directions:

Boil water or milk, as directed on the teff package. Sprinkle in some cinnamon into the mixture and add in your teff, let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cooked, let cool for five minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add in your berries, nuts, coconut flakes and maple syrup. Enjoy!

Pereg Natural Foods also has a new line of Kaňiwa (baby quinoa) as well as new blends and flavor infused varieties of freekeh farro, basmati rice and quinoa that are worth checking out. Stay tuned: we will be sharing a dinner recipe featuring their Kaňiwa soon!

Follow Pereg Natural Foods on Facebook.com/peregnatural, Twitter @pereggourmet and Instagram @peregnatural.

We were provided with a sample for review. Our opinions, as always, are our own.

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Recipe: Frozen Banana Granola Pops

We loving enjoying an ice cream cone on a hot summer day but recently discovered a new sweet treat to add to your summer rotation with frozen banana granola pops. Using Viki’s Granola (and specifically the Viki’s Banana Walnut Granola) as a base creates a crunchy, along with chocolate and a banana, creates a satisfying new way to indulge while still being healthy. We’ve also been loving this gluten-free, soft-baked granola as a nice addition to our yogurts, trail mix or an easy snack on the go. Check out more about how to prepare this healthy sweet treat below and enjoy!

Frozen Banana Granola Pops

Frozen Banana Granola Pops

Ingredients:
4 bananas
3 tablespoons Viki’s Banana Walnut Granola
6 ounces dark chocolate chips or shards
8 popsicle sticks

Directions:
• Peel, cut bananas in half crosswise and insert Popsicle sticks. Place on a parchment-lined tray, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 3 hours.
• Place Viki’s Banana Walnut Granola into a shallow dish. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over slightly simmering water, over low heat, constantly stirring. Pour the chocolate into a tall glass.
• Dip each banana into the chocolate and roll in the granola straightaway. Place on a parchment-lined tray.
• Serve immediately or wrap individually in parchment paper or plastic wrap in the freezer.

For more info, please visit: https://www.vikisfoods.com/

We were provided with a  sample for review. All opinions are our own.

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Summertime Sides from Organic Kids L.A

Lazy summer weekends are around the corner. One of the cornerstones of this time are BBQ’s and with Father’s Day right around the corner, we are definitly inspired to get our grill on. One way to get get kids involved is to have them help out with the cooking. To inspire young chefs, we are sharing two summertime sides from Lisa Rotondi of Organic Kids L.A, a company that provides lunches to preschool, elementary, middle and high school students throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Read on to check out some of these awesome healthy and easy to create side dishes.

Summertime Sides

Summertime Sides

Organic Summer Succotash Edamame Salad:

Ingredients:
· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 medium organic onion, chopped
· 1 bag (1 pound) shelled organic edamame, thawed
· 1 bag (1 pound) frozen organic corn, thawed, or 3 cups fresh-cut organic corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
· 2 large ripe organic plum tomatoes, diced
· 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
· 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 1/4 cup minced organic fresh chives or basil

Instructions:
Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the edamame and corn and cook, turning often, until heated through, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato, salt and pepper. Let cool and then chill if packing in a lunch box. When ready to serve, stir in the chives or basil.

Organic Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Ingredients:
· Lemons
· Water
· Sugar
· Simple Syrup

Instructions:
Squeeze the lemon juice through a hand presser. Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Boil the water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the simple syrup cool.
Mix the remaining 6 cups of water, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and enjoy!

For more information, please visit: http://www.organickidsla.com

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What are the Differences Between Artificially and Naturally Alkaline Water?

There has a lot been said about alkaline water and how it’s less acidic than tap water. But now we’ve been hearing about artificially and naturally alkaline water and have been confused by the differences and benefits for the body. To help us out, we interviewed Ryan Emmons, founder of Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water to learn more about this topic. Read on to learn more about his company and to better understand the differences.

Interview with Ryan Emmons on Artificially and Naturally Alkaline Water

 Artificially and Naturally Alkaline water: interview with Ryan of Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water come about?

Ryan Emmons: I grew up in California and Hawaii, spending all of my winters and summers there with my Hawaiian family. During that time, I gained an incredible appreciation for the environment and the active, nature-filled lifestyle that’s unique to these places. That, coupled with a history of involvement with clean water, education, and conservation NGO’s led me to try to begin developing the concept for Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water after I realized there was a dire need for a lifestyle brand that could create positive industry and social change.

I went to the Marshall School of Business at USC because it had the number one undergrad Entrepreneur Program in the country (the LLoyd Greif Program for Entrepreneurial Studies), and started developing the concept, feasibility, and business plan over the next few years before graduating early and launching it full time.

Wellness Patterns: What are the differences between artificially and naturally alkaline waters? When measuring alkalinity, an alkaline pH can be the result of natural or unnatural conditions in the water.

Ryan Emmons: Naturally alkaline water has a chemical makeup that is vastly different from artificially alkaline water. A naturally alkaline water’s pH corresponds with the amount of minerals present in the water — the higher the mineral content, the higher the pH. On the other hand, artificially alkaline water has undergone a process they call ionization, or “electrolysis”, that gives the water a certain pH, but rarely possesses the minerals found in naturally alkaline waters.

At the end of the day, more research needs to be done on high pH waters. The health benefits are uncertain as there is very little research to prove that a high pH can have any effect on our bodies — our stomachs need to be acidic to digest food and our bodies have powerful mechanisms to balance our internal pH, whether it’s in the blood, digestive tract, or internal organs. What we do know is that healthful minerals found in naturally alkaline waters, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, are bioavailable in water and have many FDA-approved health benefits.

Remember, I’m not a dietician or doctor, nor am I offering any medical advice. There’s just a lot of conflicting information floating around out there and this topic will only be settled once conclusive studies have been published. But as Dr. Mercola says in one of his publications on alkaline water, the value of alkaline water has much more to do than pH alone. And that’s really the difference between artificial and naturally alkaline water.

Wellness Patterns: How is the water sourced?

Ryan Emmons: 2,400 miles from the nearest industrial landmass and surrounded by 10 million square miles of ocean, Waiākea is completely isolated from the rest of the world, originating in Hawai’i through both snowmelt and rain on the pristine snowcapped peak of the active Mauna Loa volcano, one of the purest environments on Earth. Waiākea is then filtered through thousands of feet of porous lava rock before re-emerging at its source, a deep volcanic well, located at the eastern base of the Mauna Loa volcano in a secluded area surrounded by rich and bio-diverse forest preserves.

Wellness Patterns: What differences will a consumer notice in drinking your water?

Ryan Emmons: Waiakea has a smooth mouthfeel and a very subtle hit of sweet (that’s from the silica!).

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your plans for the future?

Ryan Emmons: As a company, we’re always evolving. Some of the most exciting endeavors on the docket
involve furthering our commitment to sustainability and ethics.

For example, in the next year, Waiakea will be the first premium-bottled water to biodegrade in anaerobic and aerobic environments—yes, that means that all our bottles will be biodegradable, even in landfill or ocean environments.

Additionally, we’re expanding charitable partnerships beyond our long-standing relationship with Pump Aid, to include local nonprofits on the Big Island, and more specifically Hilo.

Furthermore, Waiakea is expanding their partnerships with local nonprofits in conservation and education on the Big Island, and will be making some pretty significant announcements of our new community programs.

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Healthy Start with Grain-Free GrandyOats

Healthy Start with Grain-Free GrandyOats

By now it’s safe to say that most of us have tried granola at some point in our lives. While this isn’t a new food, there are definitely variations of this classic breakfast option that covers a wide-range of choice! Hooray to advances in granola. The problem with some varieties are that they are loaded with added sugars that don’t always make this the best option to start your day. Along with the sugar-ladded varieties, there are tons of healthier options that even include grain-free varieties! We just had the chance to try out such a variety with the new grain-free Coconola line from GrandyOats.

Healthy Start with Grain-Free GrandyOats

As a company that has handcrafted granola since 1979 (along with muesli, trail mix, roasted nuts and hot cereals in rural Main), they recently introduced a new line of gluten free granolas with a base of coconut that’s been touted for it’s nutritional benefits such as for energy, fiber and healthy fats including MCT. This, along with the combo of the nuts, makes for a super healthy and powerful way to start your day.

Healthy Start with Grain-Free GrandyOats

We had the opportunity to test out a few of these new granolas and were amazed at how good they were without having any traditional oats in them. One of our favorites is the Original, Super Hemp Blend, a variety that contains organic: unsweetened coconut, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, sesame seeds, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla! Paired with some yogurt, blueberries and a drizzle of some of our morning smoothie made for a satisfying and incredible option for breakfast. This variety wasn’t too sweet and provided the right amount of crunch that paired amazingly with the variety of nuts in the granola. A seriously addictive blend, we’ve also been stashing them in our bags for a mid-day snack or to top on our salads and smoothies. It’s super versatile and incredible tasty that can easily be enjoyed throughout the day.

Additional varieties in the Coconola line include the Original Coconola and the Chocolate Chunk Coconola, a healthy and satisfying sweet treat made with rganic: unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut syrup, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, pecans, cashews, maple syrup and vanilla.

Additionally, all of the “oats” in the grain-free line are “certified organic, gluten-free and paleo; non-GMO; small batch; high protein; oil-free; salt-free; kosher; low sugar; and socially responsible,” as stated by Aaron Anker, Chief Granola Officer for GrandyOats.

And another cool aspect of the company is that their bakery is solar powered where they have 288 solar panels next to the bakery generate enough clean, renewable energy to produce millions of pounds of granola and offset over 145,000 pounds of greenhouse gases each year. With a focus on social consciousness, they source the most wholesome organic ingredients and partner with local, organic, and non-GMO producers. A fantastic granola from a company that cares, we fully support and love the incredible varieties from their new grain-free line, and think you will, too!

All 3 varieties of Coconola are offered in 9 oz. re-sealable pouches for a SRP of $7.99. A wide range of GrandyOats organic cereals and snacks in a variety of sizes are available nationwide at natural food stores, food cooperatives, major grocery chains, online retailers and www.GrandyOats.com.

We were provided samples for review. All opinions are our own.

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